The Mystery Revealed, Part 2

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling

With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ.

Ephesians 1:

When we hear the word "mystery," you might be inclined to think of a book or movie that is based around a secret. The story gives us clues to the secret, but it is not fully revealed until the end. Or, perhaps the word "mystery" suggests to you things about the real world that are perplexing. You may be thinking about the mystery of crop circles or the mystery of Bigfoot's existence.

If you were living in Ephesus in the first century A.D., the word "mystery" or the plural "mysteries" would have had a different and distinctive connotation. You would have thought of the mystery religions, sometimes called simply the "mysteries." These were religious organizations that were based around certain secret beliefs and practices. Only someone initiated into the mysteries would be privy to some hidden source of salvation. In many cases, one could only be initiated into a mystery religion by paying a significant amount of money. Thus, most people were simply left out, forever unaware of the life-changing truth and experience of the mysteries.

Some first-century pagans might have at first considered Christianity to be a mystery religion. Yet, it would soon have become clear that the Christians were not keeping the core of their religion a secret. Nor were they charging money for initiation. Rather, they were broadcasting the "mystery" of God. They were telling everyone who would listen, and quite a few people who chose not to listen. Their meetings were not hidden, but held in homes and open spaces, and all were welcome to attend.

Why did the Christians steward their "mystery" so differently than the pagans? Because they were following the example (and command) of God. God "made known the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure" (1:9). God delighted in revealing himself and his purposes for the world. Thus, whereas for pagans, the essence of their mysteries was hiddenness, for Christians, the mysteries were to be shared with all, to the ends of the earth.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: How did you first learn about the "mysteries" of God? Do you ever share with people the truth about God as revealed in Christ and in Scripture? Why or why not?

PRAYER: Once again, gracious God, I thank you for making yourself known to the world, including me. Thank you for modeling for your people a generous, open revelation. Thank you that your mystery is not meant to be a secret.

Help me, dear Lord, to share your mystery with others, through my words and my deeds. May I learn to speak of you with boldness and tenderness, respecting others even as I speak plainly of your love in Christ. Amen.

Images sourced via Creative Commons.

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